A Paradigm Shift in Teaching Music in Schools

Traditional Music and Multiculturalism in Malaysian Education: Approaches in Music Appreciation Classes
  • Tan Sooi Beng
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 11)

Until recently, music education in South East Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines has been based mainly on European models. Music programmes focus mainly on Western classical music theory, harmony and history. Students play Western percussion instruments and recorders in the classroom and join Western kinds of school bands, orchestras or choirs as extra-curricular activities. By stressing the importance of the Western system, educators have implied that other musical systems including their own are relatively unimportant or even inferior.

This chapter looks at how particular forms of traditional Malaysian music and selected genres of traditional music taught in certain schools in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines have been introduced in Malaysian secondary schools to children aged between 13 and 17. A comparative approach, which could be adapted to teaching the traditional music of South East Asia in music appreciation classes through active music-making and guided listening, is illustrated in this article. The notation and methods of teaching used in the respective countries have been adopted. It should be stressed that cross-cultural studies are new in Malaysia and educators are still experimenting with appropriate instructional approaches.


Lesson Plan Musical Instrument Rhythmic Pattern South East Asian Country Music Education 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tan Sooi Beng
    • 1
  1. 1.School of ArtsUniversiti SainsMalaysia

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